Liverpool could be set to rival Barcelona for the signature of Schalke's Leon Goretzka as they eye potential replacements for Emre Can.
The Daily Mirror (h/t the Daily Express) has claimed that the 22-year-old will become the centre of a major transfer tussle between the Reds and Catalan giants as Goretzka enters the final six months of his current deal in Gelsenkirchen.
Barcelona were reportedly leading the chase for the Germany international as recently as Friday, but Liverpool have now supposedly thrown their hat into the ring for his services.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp will be privately concerned that midfield man Can could depart Anfield once his contract - also due to expire at the end of this term - ends.
Serie A champions Juventus have been linked with landing the German on a free transfer for the past three months and, with talks over extending Can's stay on Merseyside breaking down, I Bianconceri could secure him in January.
That would be because Can is free to chat to interested foreign parties after the turn of the year, and would be free to shake hands on a pre-contractual agreement to move to Turin next summer.
There are genuine human beings that think Leon Goretzka is not the best box to box player on the planet lmaooo— 2.5% Conversion Rate (@suarez_nutmeg) November 3, 2017
His departure would leave a hole in Liverpool's senior ranks, therefore, and Klopp is eager to fill that possible vacancy with the arrival of Goretzka.
Goretzka is showing no signs of wanting to continue his relationship with Schalke, and the Bundesliga club could even decide to try and cut their losses by selling him for a knock down price in the winter window.
Even that could lead to Liverpool and Barcelona going toe to toe for the playmaker, and add further tension between the two European heavyweights after their recent spat over Philippe Coutinho.
Liverpool knocked back four bids from La Blaugrana for the Brazil international in the most recent transfer window, and Barca's interest in Goretzka could be their way of signing someone for a fraction of the cost of Coutinho.
If Goretzka joined Liverpool over Barcelona, he would be reunited with former teammate Joel Matip, who moved to England in the summer of 2015 on a free transfer.